UCAS code: B190

Start dates: September 2024 / September 2025

Full time: 3 years

Part time: 6 years

Location: Headington, Headington (Marston Road site)

Department(s): Department of Biological and Medical Sciences

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Our BSc (Hons) Medical Science degree takes you on a fascinating exploration of the human body. If you’re curious and have a strong interest in biology and physiology, this course is for you.

You’ll study how the human body functions in heath, including aspects such as integrated physiology, neuroscience and genetics, and also in disease (pathophysiology, human genetic disease). The strong physiology aspect aligns this degree closely with many areas of disease testing, and gives you experience of laboratory work that is core to most science careers, including those with a health focus.

Through academic and practical learning, we’ll equip you with the skills employers look for, including lab techniques, data handling, computing, report writing, oral presentations, and teamwork. Our department has excellent links with industry. NHS medical scientists and clinical leads are regular guest lecturers. Students have also successfully found internships with local companies and organisations.

We’re in the business of making people’s lives better. Learn with us and have a real-world impact.

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Students working in a lab

Why Oxford Brookes University?

  • Expert teaching

    On your physiology and clinical modules, we often use practising Clinical Scientists and Physiologists to co-deliver your module learning, helping you build an understanding of how your growing knowledge and skills are used in professional settings.

  • Excellent grounding

    The degree provides a great foundation for applying to graduate-entry Medicine and Physicians’s Associate courses. It builds on core medical science subjects.

  • Future roles

    Many graduates are appointed to research posts in universities, research institutes, or biotechnology companies each year.

  • Strong industry links

    Our links with industry mean many students go on to work for local hospitals and research institutions. We also regularly welcome guest lecturers from industry. 

  • Research experience

    You’ll work with our academics in research groups. You’ll delve into pertinent subjects such as genetic damage induced by radiation and how the heart and lungs function.

  • Free language courses

    Free language courses are available to full-time undergraduate and postgraduate students on many of our courses, and can be taken as a credit on some courses.

  • Study abroad

    You may be able to go on a European or international study exchange while you are at Brookes. Most exchanges take place in the second year. Although we will help as much as we can with your plans, ultimately you are responsible for organising and funding this study abroad.

Course details

Course structure

This degree builds on core medical science subjects. It will give you a sound understanding of the human body in health and disease. You’ll choose modules to suit your interests.

Core first year modules will ground you in important basics. You’ll explore cell biology and genetics, biochemistry, and human structure and function.

In your second year, you’ll take the compulsory module Integrated Physiology which builds on the first-year Human Structure and Function module. You’ll study Biochemistry of Cell Function, Molecular Biology, Genetics, Research Methods, Haematology & Immunology. You’ll decide whether to register your interest in taking an optional year-long work placement.

Alongside further advanced study, your final year will focus on your independent research project. You’ll gather, consider, and evaluate data, and report on your findings in your dissertation - a great way to display all your graduate-level skills and knowledge.

Medical science is a practical subject. Throughout your degree, we’ll train you to use equipment that is commonplace within the industry.

Students undertaking lab work

Learning and teaching

Teaching and learning methods include: 

  • lectures
  • practicals
  • tutorials
  • seminars.

You will have the opportunity to attend seminars given by visiting speakers from around the world.

As well as delivering this course in partnership with scientists working in local hospitals, we are able to invite colleagues and collaborators who are at the forefront of research to join us in exploring the scientific themes of medical science with you. This includes work on:

  • DNA repair
  • disease biofilms
  • clinically important immunohistochemistry tests
  • deep brain stimulation for symptom relief.

Our research in these areas underpins this course.

Medical science is a practical subject and we have a very good range of equipment. This includes: 

  • high-performance liquid chromatography equipment
  • confocal and electron microscopes
  • specialised laboratories for tissue culture
  • microbiology
  • physiology
  • microscopy.


The course includes a variety of teaching, learning and assessment methods.

Assessment methods include:

  • essays 
  • reviews 
  • examinations 
  • laboratory notebooks
  • scientific reports 
  • posters
  • oral presentations.

Reflective learning is encouraged through the use of:

  • self reflection following feedback
  • peer or staff formative feedback
  • group work
  • project work
  • reflective diaries.

Study modules

Teaching for this course takes place Face to Face and you can expect around 11 hours of contact time per week.
In addition to this, you should also anticipate a workload of 1,200 hours per year. Teaching usually takes place Monday to Friday, between 9.00am and 6.00pm.

Contact hours involve activities such as lectures, seminars, practicals, assessments, and academic advising sessions. These hours differ by year of study and typically increase significantly during placements or other types of work-based learning.

Year 1

Compulsory modules

  • Cell Biology and Genetics

    Cell biology is the study of how cells work and how they differentiate to form multicellular organisms. 

    This module is your introduction to cell function - you'll study the different types of molecules within cells and build your knowledge about cellular organelles and their functions. You’ll explore the increasing levels of complexity and the diversity of cell types that have arisen through evolution.  

    On this module you’ll also look at genetics. What are genes and how do they work to bring about the traits that we observe in organisms? We will examine cell division in detail and look at how DNA is transcribed into RNA which translates into proteins that do most of the work in the cell.



  • Human Structure and Function

    Through this module you’ll build detailed insight into physiology - the way that the human body performs vital functions. Body function is dependent on the form or structure of the body and we’ll also study relevant areas of anatomy to gain a greater understanding. 

    Body functions are complex and individual organs don’t function in isolation, they work within organ systems. You’ll explore systemic physiology, which is the study of these organ systems. We’ll use examples such as the cardiovascular, respiratory and renal systems to illustrate this way of looking at and understanding the human body.  

    Organ systems also work in an integrated way, each affecting the others to try to maintain a physiological equilibrium. We'll explore how the body maintains its balance, and also think about when things go wrong.

  • Introduction to Biochemistry A

    This module is an introduction to the chemical principles that underpin cellular functions. You’ll study the chemical concepts that range from stoichiometry and reactions, chemical bonds and structures through to chemical equilibrium and chemical change, taking in the organic chemistry of cell macromolecules:

    • DNA
    • Proteins
    • Carbohydrates
    • Lipids.

    This will help you build crucial knowledge and skills for the field of biological sciences.

  • Introduction to Biochemistry B

    You'll build your knowledge of chemical concepts. You’ll study energetics and cellular metabolism to biochemical change (enzyme kinetics and mechanisms) and you’ll consider cellular macromolecules, broadly looking at: 

    • bioenergetics
    • cellular metabolism
    • enzyme kinetics
    • protein structure and function. 

    You'll further develop and progress your knowledge and skills in Biochemistry and what you also learnt on the module Introduction to Biochemistry A.

  • Scientific Skills

    You’ll learn about and develop key skills that underpin the practice of science, focussing on health and healthcare. Key themes we will explore are:

    • experimental design and hypothesis
    • statistical methods
    • professional communication and ethics
    • data handling
    • accessing literature
    • keeping an experimental record.     

    You’ll also look at possible career paths, including that of an Health and Care Professions Council registered Biomedical Scientist, and find out about the registration requirements and the career progression opportunities available. The practical classes will help you develop good lab techniques using basic equipment such as: 

    • pipetting
    • weighing
    • spectrophotometers.

    Also you’ll learn about the help and resources available from the University’s Careers Service, for investigating other career options and seeking part-time work. We’ll also introduce you to the University library resources and key study skills for your academic development. 

  • Professional and Experimental Skills

    Develop key professional and experimental skills that will form the basis for your future modules, and this is also part of the research pathway leading to your final year project.

    You’ll build on your knowledge gained from a previous module Scientific Skills, progressing your skills that underpin the practice of biomedical and medical science. Also you will focus on the needs of professions linked to health understanding and healthcare practice. The key themes you’ll look at are:

    • experimental design and hypothesis
    • statistical methods
    • professional communication and ethics
    • data handling
    • accessing literature
    • keeping an experimental record.

Year 2

Compulsory modules

  • Biochemistry of Cell Function

    Want to make your stamp on eradicating some of the world’s major diseases? In this module you’ll discover how the biochemistry of eukaryotic cells plays an intrinsic role in the function of cell biology, with a special focus on mammalian tissues. You’ll be introduced to a number of key experimental procedures and laboratory techniques which will enable you to explore the chemical nature of the compounds in these highly fascinating cells, enlightening your knowledge on cellular processes.

    You’ll develop an in-depth understanding of the biochemical events that occur when these cellular processes fail and give rise to diseases. You’ll also deepen your knowledge on both a cellular and systemic level, and absorb yourself within the enthralling biomedical diagnostic techniques delivered by leading experts in the field, equipping you with vital skills for the world of work.

  • Integrated Physiology

    What happens inside the living organism? How do these systems integrate and act interdependently of each other inside our bodies? As a student on the Integrated Physiology module, you’ll be exploring these questions and more. You’ll discover the system physiology connections between the respiratory, cardiovascular, renal, endocrine, and autonomic nervous systems. For example, did you know? Blood pressure is regulated by both the cardiovascular system and the kidneys, and blood PH by the lungs and kidneys.

    In this module we'll consider the mechanisms by which these individual systems are integrated and the response to physiological disturbance.

    You’ll build the transferable skills that are much sought after in career sectors such as biotechnology, agriculture, pharmaceuticals and veterinary science.

  • Research Methods for Healthcare Sciences

    Interested in pioneering clinical research methods and taking healthcare sciences forward to the next level? Bioscience research approaches will train you to turn the complex analytics of the whole clinical research development cycle into meaningful specialist knowledge, allowing you to understand and devise rich regulatory frameworks for academia, research establishments and the pharmaceutical industry.

    We'll explore fundamental approaches to eukaryotic cell culture. You'll be introduced to potential applications of cell culture, including recombinant protein expression and genetic analysis. Acquire skills to gather and record information and communicate your ideas effectively to drive research forward and successfully improve commercialisation based on good clinical practice.

    You’ll be supported by leading research supervisors who will impart their latest knowledge on research ethics, biological and chemical hazards and teach you key principles to support your career aspirations. 

  • Molecular Biology

    Investigating DNA and molecular concepts has never been so encapsulating. Learn about the structure and function of prokaryotic and eukaryotic genomes alongside top scientists in the field, helping to address the world’s biggest challenges. Secure knowledge on the latest experimental evidence supporting cutting-edge concepts and laboratory techniques. 

    You’ll gain a solid insight into the most up-to-date biomedical applications and modern molecular tools used to implement recombinant DNA techniques and DNA sequencing, complementing the Genetics Module. Your learning journey will be supported into the Biomedical Science and Medical Science employability routes, for which there is a growing demand, and you’ll be thoroughly guided by leading specialists on making successful job applications for those who embark on placement work experience. 

  • Haematology and Immunology

    Our ability to understand how to treat and cure disease, and to positively impact human health across the globe is the reason why many scientists strive to understand the science behind haematology and immunology. You could be joining that mission. The concepts you’ll learn in this module will equip you with the fundamental knowledge of cells, molecules and genes involved in the blood and immune system. You’ll be introduced to how these components can protect us, however, can also have the ability to harm us and contribute to disease.
    You’ll explore the mechanisms and therapies in identifying and diagnosing blood diseases and clinical blood disorders. In addition, you’ll study the experimental working methods used in the discovery and development of novel drugs and preventative vaccines, and find out how these therapies can improve human health and transform immune systems.

  • Genetics

    How are our genes passed from one generation to the next? How does DNA play a role in our genetic makeup? And what is the science behind evolution on earth? All these questions and more will be answered in this encapsulating module exploring the field of genetics.

    You’ll gain specialist knowledge on real-world biomedical applications and computational analyses techniques, which will provide the perfect foundation to your further studies. You’ll benefit from gaining specialist knowledge from experts in the field. Whether it’s healthcare, endangered species, or cancer research, as a graduate you can expect your skills to make a lasting impact on society. 

Optional modules


The module considers the structures, metabolism, regulatory signals, replication and growth exhibited by microorganisms. You'll be introduced to a number of examples of microbes, including viruses, bacteria and protozoa, particularly those that are pathogenic in humans. The interaction and impact of microbes with humans will be considered, along with an introduction to the challenges facing medical interventions against pathogenic microbes in different parts of the world. 

You'll learn how to work safely in a Category 2 microbiology containment laboratory, where you'll plan and execute a series of simple experimental procedures that are important for the diagnosis of common bacterial species. You'll practise aseptic techniques, and apply a core virological method – the plaque assay - to address an experimental question with your classmates.

Year 3 (optional placement year)

Optional modules

Professional Placement

During the second year of your course you'lll have the opportunity to register your interest in extending your course to four years by taking the following year (your 3rd year) as a sandwich placement in a relevant professional role. The placement module allows you to remain registered as a student during your sandwich year, and supports your continued academic development whilst in the workplace. You'll gain insight into various aspects of work within a professional setting and you’ll develop new practical and career-supporting skills.

Although Oxford Brookes will support you academically during your placement year, you'll need to organise the placement yourself – this might include applying for nationally- or locally-advertised placements or searching for suitable host companies. You’ll need to fund any associated expenses (e.g. accommodation, travel) for your placement. You'll be given help and advice how to think and go about this in your 1st year. 

Year 4 (or Year 3 if no placement)

Compulsory modules

  • Research Project

    This is the culmination of your degree, and your chance to delve into the world of research to pioneer your own breakthrough. As part of this module you’ll have the opportunity to create an individual piece of research related to your degree subject, working alongside a supervisor from the Department of Biological Sciences at Oxford Brookes University. You’ll be encouraged to explore opportunities to develop your project outside of the University, under the guidance of your tutor. You’ll participate in formal sessions that are designed to help you consider possible project choices and provide you with the necessary knowledge to search for outside project opportunities. 

  • Pathophysiology

    In this module, you’ll gain an insight into a full range of pathological processes, and their effects on the human body. In particular, you’ll be focusing on the pathogenesis, pathology and pathophysiology of common cardio-pulmonary disease conditions including obstructive and restrictive lung disease, heart failure and obstructive sleep apnoea. You’ll learn how to make meaningful connections between physiological principles and pathophysiological mechanisms. Furthermore, you’ll gain confidence in your abilities to problem solve with the opportunity to get hands-on with cutting-edge and controversial issues in the field through a combination of problem-based learning, case studies, student debates, hospital visits and guest lectures by medical and healthcare professionals within the field.

Optional modules

Clinical Biochemistry and Pharmacology

In this module, you’ll gain an indispensable insight into the mode of action of pharmaceutical drugs within the body. You’ll explore how biochemistry is applied in hospital pathology laboratories for the diagnosis, monitoring and treatment of disease. You’ll begin your study on the principles and applications of routine methods in clinical biochemistry. You’ll learn how to select the appropriate methods required to diagnose, monitor and treat disease as well as detect complications by investigating metabolic and clinical aspects of disease. You’ll be part of a discussion about heart, liver, bone, kidney, endocrine diseases, and inborn errors of metabolism. You’ll also explore the roles of the laboratory in screening for drugs of abuse, therapeutic drug monitoring and population screening.

Genomic Medicine

Our understanding of the genome is constantly growing. In this module, you’ll be introduced to the fundamental elements of genomics, human genetics and genetic variation. You’ll explore genetics in connection to disease and how genomic medicine can be utilised in relation to disease mechanisms. You’ll get the chance to investigate the effects of gene mutations and variations in DNA sequences (gene polymorphisms) in human health, with an opportunity to join in on an in-depth discussion on linkage. In addition, you’ll learn all about personalised medicine and the role of a key enzyme in the liver (cytochrome P450) in the metabolism of drugs and toxicity.


Neuroscience examines the brain, which is responsible for our entire nervous system; including how we process formation which influences how we feel, behave and remember things. This module will give you a fascinating insight into the latest major research fields in neuroscience. At the beginning of the course, you’ll review the structure and function of the neurone, explore human neuroanatomy and the development of the vertebrate nervous system.

As you delve deeper, you’ll then focus on the development of the brain, and how neural systems give rise to sensory perception, learning and memory, speech and language, motor control, vision, sleep-wake cycling and circadian rhythm. You'll have the opportunity to develop and carry out your own in-depth study on a particular interest in neuroscience research, which will be assessed by a series of case studies and a reflective journal based on a visit to Oxford University / OUH clinical neuropathology.

Advanced Genetics and Genomics

You'll learn about major theoretical and technological advances in Genetics and Genomics, and their significance in addressing challenges in biological and medical research. You’ll focus on the variation of population history, selection inference, and analysing variation in complex traits. You’ll also explore the use of comparative genomics and the evolutionary relatedness among groups of organisms (phylogenetics) to make connections between evolutionary relationships, and investigate genome evolution.

Your learning journey will encompass microbiomes in human health and ecosystems, and the study of gene function. You’ll get hands on with key techniques such as retrieval of data from public resources, population statistics, genome-wide association studies, gene annotation, transcriptome analysis, transcription factor binding prediction and characterisation of epigenetic modifications. You’ll devise a research programme addressing a current challenge in biological and medical science.

Human Genetic Disease

This fascinating module will introduce you to the fundamentals of cancerous cells at a molecular level. You’ll explore the nature and causes of cancer with particular emphasis on the underlying biological mechanisms. You’ll investigate the role of oncogenes, tumour suppressor genes, and cell signalling. Furthermore, you’ll explore other cellular processes such as the cell cycle, apoptosis, cell growth and division, and DNA repair in cancer development. You’ll find that a special focus around the concepts of the ‘hallmarks of cancer’ will also introduce you to the emerging field of cancer genomics as well as cover the therapeutic options for tumour patients.

Molecular Biology of Cancer

This fascinating module will introduce you to the fundamentals of cancerous cells at a molecular level. You’ll explore the nature and causes of cancer with particular emphasis on the underlying biological mechanisms. You’ll investigate the role of oncogenes, tumour suppressor genes, and cell signalling. Furthermore, you’ll explore other cellular processes such as the cell cycle, apoptosis, cell growth and division, and DNA repair in cancer development. You’ll find that a special focus around the concepts of the ‘hallmarks of cancer’ will also introduce you to the emerging field of cancer genomics as well as cover the therapeutic options for tumour patients.

Evidence Based Medicine

In this module, you’ll develop a fundamental understanding of biomedical, clinical, and epidemiological health-based research. Your new-found knowledge will support your decision making in health science. You’ll set your foundations for entering clinical leadership roles that require you to be able to assess and synthesise evidence using a variety of diagnostic tools which are currently applied in the health system. In addition, you’ll explore several key challenges in healthcare and identify how evidence can be used to shape health practice and policy. Your learning will incorporate tutor-led discussions, and a range of specialist speakers from both within and outside Oxford Brookes University. 

Advances in Bioscience Research

This module will introduce you to exploring specific contemporary issues in bioscience research and will invite you to consider how these issues can be taken from the lecture room into the real world. You’ll get the opportunity to focus on two staff research areas, and will develop your understanding of key research priorities within biosciences. You’ll also develop your ability to critically evaluate key literature within your specialist focus area. On completion of this module, you'll be well equipped with the analytical and critical evaluation skills to work in a range of sectors in research.  

Professional Skills and Techniques

You’ll focus on the development of your professional skills and personalise your career ambitions. You’ll select your study elements, which will allow you flexibility and draw upon your research expertise and links with external partners. Some of the wide range of topics you’ll cover will be relevant to your degree, such as advanced microscopy, protein biochemistry, species identification, geographic information systems, entrepreneurship or science communication. You’ll gain hands-on experience on how to competently perform techniques, and you’ll hear from professionals working in the sector, who will provide an insight into their career.

You will learn how you can make a difference in the world and existing job market with the new knowledge and skills you’ll gain. Self-reflection is encouraged on this module, and you’ll get the chance to demonstrate your learning through a written report, talk, poster, leaflet, protocol, or oral viva.


Please note: As our courses are reviewed regularly as part of our quality assurance framework, the modules you can choose from may vary from those shown here. The structure of the course may also mean some modules are not available to you.


You’ll be fully prepared for a career at the cutting edge of medical science. Alongside training you in theory and practice, we blend career development guidance and support into our modules, and these activities will help to prepare you for the world of professional work.

Many of our graduates have gone on to work in bioscience companies, diagnostic labs, diagnostic clinics, or to study further either through an MSc or a research-focused PhD studentship. While you’re with us, we’ll arm you with the skills you need to be successful in the workplace.

Oxford provides many excellent work opportunities. We have organisations like, Abbott Diabetes Care, Oxford Biomedica, Oxford Science Park, Milton Park and Abingdon Science Park right on our doorstep. Popular roles include:

  • physician associate
  • biochemist
  • biotechnologist
  • medical research scientist
  • lab technician
  • forensic scientist
  • clinical research associate.

The BSc degree is well designed to provide a foundation for graduate-entry medical school or further academic training in the life and medical sciences.

Entry requirements

Wherever possible we make our conditional offers using the UCAS Tariff. The combination of A-level grades listed here would be just one way of achieving the UCAS Tariff points for this course.

Standard offer

UCAS Tariff Points: 104

A Level: BCC

IB Points: 29


Contextual offer

UCAS Tariff Points: 88

A Level: CCD

IB Points: 27


International qualifications and equivalences

Tuition fees

Please see the fees note
Home (UK) full time

Home (UK) part time
£1,155 per single module

International full time

Home (UK) full time

Home (UK) part time
£1,155 per single module

International full time

Questions about fees?

Contact Student Finance on:

Tuition fees

2024 / 25
Home (UK) full time

Home (UK) part time
£1,155 per single module

International full time

2025 / 26
Home (UK) full time

Home (UK) part time
£1,155 per single module

International full time

Questions about fees?

Contact Student Finance on:

+44 (0)1865 534400


Please note, tuition fees for Home students may increase in subsequent years both for new and continuing students in line with an inflationary amount determined by government. Oxford Brookes University intends to maintain its fees for new and returning Home students at the maximum permitted level.

Tuition fees for International students may increase in subsequent years both for new and continuing students. 

The following factors will be taken into account by the University when it is setting the annual fees: inflationary measures such as the retail price indices, projected increases in University costs, changes in the level of funding received from Government sources, admissions statistics and access considerations including the availability of student support. 

How and when to pay

Tuition fee instalments for the semester are due by the Monday of week 1 of each semester. Students are not liable for full fees for that semester if they leave before week 4. If the leaving date is after week 4, full fees for the semester are payable.

  • For information on payment methods please see our Make a Payment page.
  • For information about refunds please visit our Refund policy page

Financial support and scholarships

For general sources of financial support, see our Fees and funding pages.

Additional costs

Please be aware that some courses will involve some additional costs that are not covered by your fees. Specific additional costs for this course are detailed below.

You will need basic personal protection equipment for your laboratory practical classes. A lab coat costs around £27 and safety glasses can usually be bought for a few pounds.

Information from Discover Uni

Full-time study

Part-time study

Programme changes:
On rare occasions we may need to make changes to our course programmes after they have been published on the website. For more information, please visit our changes to programmes page.